The way I was brought up to treat dogs, is as mans best friend, my best friend.
My childhood dog was an English Bull terrier called Ariel, the most beautiful ugly dog you’d ever met. Beautiful ugly in terms of most peoples first reaction, my first reaction, in contrast with her personality. Which was gentle, protective, fun and a personality bigger than her size!
Throughout our travels Dan and I have acquired various doggy followers, who sniff out our dog lovin’ vibe.
In Greece we had our best friend Goofy, whom locals would kick out at, as if he would viciously attack them.. HA if only they knew Goofy…
That was our first introduction to a different view of dogs.
Our experience with mans best friend, the dog, in Turkey has been an eye opener, hard to witness at times, but an interesting perspective compared to the Western view.
The most common Turkish breed of dog is the Kangal. Which is thought to have originated in the Sivas region in the Eastern part of Anatolia.
According to the Kangal Dog Website “The Kangal dog is a cultural and historical icon of the Turkish people.”
Usually used for livestock protection as they have a dominating appearance, growing to be exceptionally large, often as large as mastiffs and much stronger. With the nature of a teddy bear.
In Datca, where we are currently staying, they have two Kangals called one pure bred, Anaken, and one half bred called Zena. And yes, Anaken is named after Starwars and Xena off the Warrior princess, quite fitting really.
Both are on chains at the bottom of the garden, to protect the chickens from foxes.
The dogs are fed bread, two loafs once a day, based on the fact that they are a hard wearing breed, bred to live in harsh conditions so not requiring much food. This was a new one for me… Bread, for dogs?!
The dogs being kept on chains was odd to us, why have such large, friendly giants on chains? Well, according to our host, training them is another task to add to the list, which he can’t be bothered doing, and if they’re kept with the chickens they protect them.
Throughout Datca it seemed that most, if not all dogs are kept on chains.
It seems that here dogs are purely used as a means to protect their livestock, and to protect the property.
Dan and I are given odd looks when we start cuddling Anaken, or call over stray dogs in Datca town, which is riddled with them. Lots of happy dogs lying in the sun on the beach, playing in the streets, just generally ganging out. It’s bizarre that it’s accepted considering all the locals never approach the dogs, with the talked-about risk of being bitten and if they have dogs, tie them up! Cats however, are a different story.
This is due to Islamic religion where cats have some type of importance… I must find out why.
Here are some snaps of the beautiful Kangals living with us in Datca.